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A special conference of Germany's Sociald Democratic Party (SPD) has narrowly voted in favour of formal talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats to form a coalition government, 362 delegates voting for, 279 against and one abstaining.


African Press Review 11 January 2018


South Africa's economic prospects are better but still not great. Last year's presidential election saga weakened democracy in Kenya. The death toll in Madagascar from tropical storm Ava has risen again. Wole Soyinka blames the Nigerian government for the recent violence which has seen dozens die in clashes between herders and farmers.

The World Bank has good news and bad news for South Africa.

According to the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, the
good news is that the global lender expects South Africa’s economic growth to accelerate to 1.1 percent in 2018 from 0.8 percent last year.

The bad news is that this still leaves South Africa lagging behind other emerging markets, which are expected to average growth of 4.5 percent this year, and places the country far below the global average of 3.1 percent.

The World Bank's Global Economic Prospects report released on Tuesday night says political uncertainty is the main impediment to South African growth.

Kenyan democracy weakened by elections

Kenya is also making the news in South Africa.

BusinessDay has a story on yesterday's publication in Brussels of a report on last year's Kenyan elections by the European Union team sent to monitor the polls.

According to the monitors, Kenya’s flawed presidential contest weakened the country’s democracy.

President Uhuru Kenyatta won a second term in an October rerun after his initial victory was nullified by the Supreme Court. The opposition boycotted the second poll against a background of sporadic violence and divisive rhetoric.

The EU report found that "the electoral process was damaged by political leaders attacking independent institutions and by a lack of dialogue between the two sides, with escalating disputes and violence".

Kenyatta’s side threatened the judiciary after his August victory was overturned, while the opposition, led by Raila Odinga, repeatedly attacked the election commission. More than 90 people died in election-related violence, according to rights groups, most of them shot by police.

The report makes 29 recommendationss, including legal and electoral reforms, the strengthening of the electoral commission and improved technology, that could pave the way for better elections in 2022 when Kenyatta will be obliged to stand down after two terms in office.

More bodies found in Madagascar

The death toll from tropical cyclone Ava that hit Madagascar last week has risen to 33.

At least 123,000 people were affected by the cyclone and more than 24,000 displaced by floods and landslides.

The cyclone hit the eastern coast of the island nation on Friday and Saturday with wind speeds of between 140 and 200kph.

Former president Marc Ravalomanana has urged the Malagasy government to request global funding for disaster relief under the terms of the Paris climate change agreement.

Soyinka blames Nigerian government for Fulani violence

Nobel prize-winning writer, Wole Soyinka, says the Nigerian Federal Government is responsible for killings perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen in the country.

In a statement issued yesterday and reported in this morning's Punch newspaper, Soyinka says the government was “looking the other way” as the herdsmen went on the rampage.

"We have been here before," the statement says. "President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders [from Boko Haram] had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near-identical denial, appear to believe that killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into communal clashes."

Residents said the death toll following clashes between Taraba communities and Fulani herdsmen had risen to 56 on Wednesday.

Salva Kiir extends the olive branch to sacked army chief

South Sudan president Salva Kiir insists the country’s former army chief of staff, General Paul Malong Awan intends to rebel, citing the warnings the sacked soldier allegedly issued in recently leaked audiotapes.

This is the top story in the Sudan Tribune.

Kiir says he is ready to talk in person to the ex-army chief, currently living in exile in Nairobi.

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